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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 14, 2009 7:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Can't the people who say he was better in the '80s provide examples? Like what, specifically, was he playing better? Was it just that he played faster? Was his fingering & execution better? Was his tone better? Did he put more 'feeling' in the notes? Was it a larger variety of riffs & scales he used? Was there a type of song where he improved the most? Was he more consistent in bringing every song in a show its own personality? Was he less sloppy, with fewer mistakes & missed notes in the '80s? Can you point to passages that he couldn't have played in the '70s? A discussion like this is kind of silly if people just throw out years without any explanation....

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Poster: chinarider79 Date: Dec 14, 2009 9:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

The original poster observed that Jerry's skills had improved post-retirement while listening to an Eyes from '76. It makes sense that he would get better over the years, doesn't it? Compare a Slipknot from '74 to one from a year later..... big difference. Now compare it to one from '83..... HUGE difference.

7/1/85 - Eyes

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 12:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Hey CR--I put my reply above somewhere but it was also inspired by the points you raise if you care to see it...

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Dec 14, 2009 1:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

It may not be a question of getting "better" over the years, but HOW they chose to present a particular tune, and EYES is a fine example...IMO, 1977 was the gold standard year. Take a listen to this, a groovy, jazzy, also blazing performance when they devoted at least 13 mins. to the song:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1977-10-29.sbd.miller.92085.sbeok.flac16

then compare to later eras like the 1980's when the song was basically a 7-8 minute throwaway sandwiched into the middle of a 2nd set in order to fit in a T-Stones or something...Jerry's ABILITY may or may not have been on par with '77, but the presentation of the song was lacking for sure....because later in the 1990-91 era they returned EYES to its long-jazz-format ith excellent results, as exemplified here:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd91-03-31.sbd.perkins.9451.sbeok.shnf

Did Jerry go from a great guitarist in '77 to a mediocre one in 1985 and back to great again in '91? Maybe...but I think it was more of a question of effort and choice and style than one of talent pegged to a certain era.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 1:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I can defn see that being "improvable" over time! Good point, GC; in theory, you could decide to do any number of things in terms of "arrangement" better as you became a better "judge" over the years...this I think would improve with time.

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Poster: snori Date: Dec 14, 2009 1:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I'm surprised noone has mentioned JGB. Late 80s and early 90s feature some beautiful playing.It's not all about speed either, years of experience count for a lot, and may have helped him get around problems like RSI. Experience also shows in the use of tone, sustain, echo etc. Uf you need to be convinced listen to his playing in songs like 'I shall be released ' from that period. (Sorry I don't have any links).

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 2:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Thanks snori; yep, I always neglect JGB efforts, and I do appreciate the notion that a player that was "low intensity" (in terms of life style), and I am not sure BBKing fits this but always think of him as an example, could get better with age...just dunno. When Kottke was explaining to the crowd why he couldn't do what he used to do, it sorta made me think of guitar players more as athletes if you follow (ie, wear and tear would affect them in the same way).

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 14, 2009 4:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I don't think we can get a true answer to this question because of the changing levels of interest and talent of his band mates through the different era's.His technical chops and knowledge might have grown in the 80's,but pair that with a bored Phil,cheesy keyboards and a less than stellar set list,how do you compare that to the 60's or early to mid 70's version of the band that on a given night could be brilliant.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 4:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Good pt; that's another aspect that is tough to evaluate...may be why he was happier (it seems) to work with others in solo efforts (ie, he, and the other DEAD members, were getting bored/etc with the band, and so forth).

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 14, 2009 5:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

"Compare a Slipknot from '74 to one from a year later..... big difference. Now compare it to one from '83..... HUGE difference"

You arguement here is entirely absurd!

Slipknot! was just being developed in '74, they were just jamming it, figuring it out, it wasnt even a song yet! Still, Jerry's musicianship on these primative versions is vastly superior to the garbage from '83!

"Garcia's skills continued to improve up until his death...I believe that if Jerry were still alive today, he'd be even better."

What makes this so? The fact that you attended shows during the 90's?

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Poster: vapors Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I just don’t see the point in all this. Many things being said are down right disrespectful to the man – and to his fans. Don’t listen to it if you don’t like it – why should anyone else care? I can’t help but get irritated with some of the discussions, especially these regarding Jerry. My dilemma here must come down to differentiating between what someone wants to spend their time listening to today, as stands apart from the occasion of actually have made it into the show where Jerry was playing and appreciating being there.

Just because the performances may have been superior in younger days, to me the whole purpose of this monster called the Grateful Dead (why I went) was to provide us with a magical communal and musical experience. I hesitate to employ the term dance band, but that is who they were for me. They performed each night with whatever ability they could conjure – the music lived in that moment – without a glance ahead to the day where it would be scrutinized and critiqued.

Some folk here appear to really get off on being ‘right,’ challenging the opinions and preferences of others and strutting their superior understanding. If you think it’s another ‘garbage’ or ‘dogshit’ show, then don’t listen to it. Again - who cares? “…while Jerry dicks around for a minute or two” – why would someone bother even saying stuff like that? His guitar ability, his voice, his later songs… you guys are getting to be too much for me. Maybe the multitude of us who enjoyed the music at shows in the 80s were “just going through the motions”, but it sure was a real good time.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 14, 2009 10:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Well....as a self-confessed Scrutinizer and Critiquer, I thought I might make a couple points....

One, that we're moving into the days when no one young enough to care will have seen early Grateful Dead live - from pre-coma, to pre-Brent, to pre-Keith, the numbers keep dwindling. Your point that the music was good in the moment, that it was the communal experience that mattered, is an honorable one. Deadheads have probably been saying it since 1966. But it only matters to those who were there. What we're left with is this pile of tapes, to be taken on their own terms, no matter how many Archive reviews there are from showgoers who had wonderful times.
You say the band played for the moment, with not a glance ahead..... Well, maybe in later days that was true. I remember this was the band that taped all their own performances, to listen to after the shows, constantly criticizing each other - the band that pushed themselves to change, year after year, when their fans would have been happy for them to stay the same - the band that so obviously (at least in my favored 'era') is playing not just for the crowd, but for each other, with a depth and focus that goes beyond the live 'moment'.
Just a different perspective....

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2009-12-15 06:10:30

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Poster: vapors Date: Dec 15, 2009 3:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Thanks for your even tempered and well put response. I had a hard time trying to put down my perspective – I have been struggling with these feelings for a good while. I will admit that my perceptions are colored by the many good times I enjoyed during my time on tour. There is no doubt in my mind that there was a decline; the performances are readily available here and speak for themselves. It is more the tone and persistence of some posts that bothers me. Does it matter how this might affect the participation of many who visit the archive but pass on this place? I believe you made note once in reference to review versus forum contributors that caused me to wonder about that.

Jerry did drugs, he smoked, he died. His music lives on. Everyone can listen to what they want, talk about it till the sheep, cows and billy goats gruff come home. Jerry Garcia never asked anything from us, but we seem to expect so much from him? His singing, playing and songwriting were tremendous, and the recorded output is a treasure chest that we can open and freely enjoy. Everyone can listen to whatever they want – there is so much here and that in itself is the most amazing and rewarding thing to me. I certainly value what some folk contribute here and have greatly expanded my appreciation and knowledge (of a band that I never had any trouble appreciating before.) And anyone can say whatever they want – I just did.

Perhaps I should rise to your challenge and try to provide examples where the singing or playing was fine; indeed to me with Jerry’s age and condition he had a quality of emotion that was pure and real and very moving. But I believe it would be a futile enterprise for me and not worth the likelihood of causing more demeaning chatter.

It is the splendid work that folk like you put into your posts that I want to be here for. And even though I cringe when Cliff sounds off regarding what he doesn’t like, his passionate appreciation of earlier stuff is obvious and he does make compelling and insightful listening suggestions. I think it’s great that thoughts can be exchanged here and we can easily link to shows on the archive. The recommendations and analytical discussions that surface each day make visiting here well worth enduring the less attractive aspects. Thanks for enduring mine. Peace.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 15, 2009 6:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Hey D--no need to apologize; it's always enjoyable to kick this stuff around, for me...though I am sympathetic to the awkwardness or pain it might also engender for you. I lean toward the perspective LiA outlined: in a way, I find it "justification" when we can have in depth discussions of the good and the bad. You know, the "unexamined life ain't worth living" aspect. Sure, there is a lot of subjectivity in art, but there are some general rules that we as a species apply (again, I lean strongly away from Post Modernist rants of "all is social construct").

Now, for me it makes Jerry all the more "human" to find that there were failings and various aspects of his lifestyle that contributed to a decline. This isn't meant for you because you articulated a well-reasoned appreciation of the man/group, but those that reject all criticism as taboo (in many domains one finds these sorts) to me go too far the other direction.

Take for example my old man. I can now look back with love and affection while assessing/accepting his many failings. Time and distance allows it of course, and yet, if I were to ignore or subvert the foibles and mis-steps of his I think it would be a dis-service to a full appreciation of what he did in this world and his relationship to me. Not sure if that makes any sense but I see a parallel.

So, while I still "worship" the DEAD, I find that critical discussion, esp because I am not musically inclined and need help (really), helps me appreciate them even more.

Hope this doesn't come off as patronizing cause I don't mean it to be along the lines of "if you were enlightened you could love and evaluate them like I do!"...just trying to describe my take on why all of this can be worthwhile.

Now, I do try to steer away from ever implying so and so is a douche because they think 81 is good, and I don't. In fact, BillyD made some excellent points in this thread, and it helped me appreciate 81 and him as well.

I really loved his putting a fine point on it all with his comment: "is it Tell or Grendel!?" since of course we all know it's ME. Seriously though, that was an excellent point.

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Poster: vapors Date: Dec 16, 2009 12:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Coming back to this and finding that your words are sinking in a little better, I thought it would be appropriate to say thanks for the response. The parallel example of your dad does make a lot of sense, in addition to striking a personal nerve as well. At first I was thinking you were being sarcastic (!) when you said there was no need to apologize. Man I have to stop being so sensitive. Thanks to you (and LiA) for making the effort that has helped me out of my grumbling state.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 15, 2009 4:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

The frequent hostility of the forum speaks for itself....some can get past it, some can't. A post like yours, though, should be put at the top of the forum page.

Garcia & the band gave us so much we can listen for years & years and still always find new things to discover, or rediscover....regardless of which years we prefer.
It's an undiscriminating soul, though, who won't sometimes be disappointed by what they hear. You mention the high standards people ask of Garcia - remember that he was the first to demand those standards of himself. This is the guy who pushed Phil down some stairs for "not playing" in a show, who spent months & months in studios getting early Dead albums (or the GD Movie) 'just right', who spent hours every day (especially between tours) practicing so he could be at the top of his form onstage, yet often expressed disappointment about the shows he played....and who wouldn't give up touring no matter what condition he was in.

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Poster: spring mountain high Date: Dec 15, 2009 6:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

fantastic post, LiA

i would probably agree and borrow from you by saying that garcia's playing continued to 'evolve' through 1985, and in my opnion, became more refined...songs like althea, and peggy-o, jack a roe, and a bunch of jgb stuff (ie dear prudence) are the types of songs that don't sound difficult, but the embellishments he adds, and the little fills, the finger picking style and constant differentiation of rythmic accents, are what i seem to be able to pick out and say to myself, 'wow, i would love to have that type of mastery over the instrument.' he definitely developed a finer touch to his playing, which, unfortunately, he was not always able to display due to several combined mitigating factors.

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Poster: yur worst enemy too Date: Dec 14, 2009 10:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

LiA, for years I have been looked upon as kindless. However, I started working around music around 1974 as a teenager. And now Bill Graham's personal collection is up for sale that should of been in a Museum years ago. I have been here, done that, and never really boosted on it at all. Just another chapter to my own long strange trip / movie without the help of people I have met along the way, educated unconditionally, only to be stepped over, pissed on, stabbed in the back, and laughed at, just like work.
I still don't believe the nice guy finishes last due to a C4 equation I learned 45 years ago.

Damn soap box.

Sparks - J.A.Nugget NYE 2010 - The Blasters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFqTsmRosjg

WTF ?

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Poster: skies Date: Dec 15, 2009 6:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Yes Vapors ! I love Jerry in the 80's forever ! na !

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Poster: spacedface Date: Dec 14, 2009 10:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

The were a good time in the 80s -- but often just a 3rd of the time if that. Listening to shows here just can't compare, also because you can see what they'll be playing.

I do think many times ballads and odd songs were better later, probably because I like the sound of the band. The cautionary tales were poignant and ironic and really well done, and Jerry's craggy voice just added to the effect.

But there's no question things changed, and I wonder how financial matters played into it.

A big question for me is why drums and space were always a set format for improvisations. I love it, but the same structure over the period over 15 years led to staleness. Do any of the books talk about that format?

They'd occasionally turn on a dime and head of in another direction but still. The playing was very much better earlier and it was disturbing to see Jerry so devastated at times in the later years.

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Poster: clashcity Date: Dec 15, 2009 6:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I know I'm late to the conversation...

but Cliff you are so judgmental and at times cruel it really surprises me the music of the Grateful Dead ever found a foothold in your heart and mind.

When it comes to these topics you are so concerned with proving everyone else wrong, enforcing that your opinion if the only correct one, and denigrating anyone who dares think differently.

Why don't you go drink some of those fine wines, cook some of those fish you catch, relax a little bit, and realize that it is ok for people to enjoy life in their own way.

Even if it does include listening to 80's Dead.

It really is ok Cliff. Why are you so mad all the time?



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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 15, 2009 7:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

"When it comes to these topics you are so concerned with proving everyone else wrong, enforcing that your opinion if the only correct one, and denigrating anyone who dares think differently."

Utter nonsense! I didnt start this thread, Im only one of several participants here, involved in a debate! I am entitled to my opinion, just as you are to yours, and everyone else here to theirs. YOU make this personal by singling me out! Im not attacking anyone, Im debating my opinion!

"Why don't you go drink some of those fine wines, cook some of those fish you catch, relax a little bit, and realize that it is ok for people to enjoy life in their own way.

Even if it does include listening to 80's Dead."

Now I find that funny! If someone posted here that the music from 1968 sucked, I would just laugh. But if I diss the music of the 80's, every touch head comes out of the woodwork and gives me shit! What makes my opinion so important that it offends you?

I am just as entitled to state my opinions here as anyone else! You single me out because you dissagree! Well I saw plenty of shows during the 80's, and I dont have to pretend that the music sounds good now in order the validate all the time and money I wasted going to those shitty shows!

"It really is ok Cliff. Why are you so mad all the time?"

I'm not angry, you are a troll who frequently stirs up the shit here...

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Poster: clashcity Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Whatever Cliff.

I'm not a troll (you really love that term don't you old man) here to intentionally stir up trouble. I am just an opinionated person who doesn't shy away from confrontation or a chance to speak my mind.

You sir, consistently have negative words to many here. I am not offended by your opinions, they are just that. It is your attitude, and the way you just put down anything that doesn't fit in your little box.

Many others have remarked about you and your high and mighty judgments. You scoff at those not fortunate enough to have "been there" for the early era. Call them "touch heads".

I suppose now you'll spew forth about how you contribute so much to the message board and that makes you more right than myself, or any others who happen to appreciate something different than you.

I'm certain you look more like a troll than I do.

Thanks for posting.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 15, 2009 11:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

"It is your attitude, and the way you just put down anything that doesn't fit in your little box.

Many others have remarked about you and your high and mighty judgments.

I suppose now you'll spew forth about how you contribute so much to the message board and that makes you more right than myself, or any others who happen to appreciate something different than you."


as often as I have had ill-words for you Clash - you are RIGHT on the money with that assessment. You have our "angry fisherman" down to a T (kinda like the "Mad Fisherman" we have here on northeast NESN - but not as funny)


This post was modified by direwolf0701 on 2009-12-15 19:18:27

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 15, 2009 12:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Talk about anger?

Just cant let it go Don?

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 15, 2009 12:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

anger?

furthest thing from my mind, Dennis. absolute furthest thing.


(and let what go?? i dont get what you mean. your method of debate through condescending commentary, belligerent attitude, and child-like repetition is really quite entertaining. why do you think i comment?? - other than it being fun since i know you will read and respond.)

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 15, 2009 12:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills


http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=205511

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 15, 2009 1:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

that was my anger??

ok - gotta admit, i still dont get what you mean

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Poster: banditos33 Date: Dec 15, 2009 1:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Nobody that doesnt speak Huckaneese knows what that dick is saying. I do get the jist of it though and that is if your opinion is different than his then you are wrong. A condition that was caused by him being breast fed by his dad.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 15, 2009 7:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

ouch!!

lol :)

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Poster: rastamon Date: Dec 15, 2009 1:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Dire: "thanks Cliff!!!!!! nice to see you back around these parts my brother.
very kind of you to welcome me and Todd back like that .
that is why you are one of the good guys!!"

such anger!! I'm in the duck 'n cover position now.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnO9Jyz82Ps



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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 15, 2009 7:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

you are right - i do believe i was steaming when writing that ;)

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

"Early era?"

I'm 46 and didnt attend my first show until January of 1979.

And I find it immensely amusing how all you folks get so upset by my loathing of the music from the 80's...

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Poster: suasponte Date: Dec 15, 2009 10:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Cliff, we find it immensely entertaining that you offer free tickets to events to actually get people to go with you since obviously you have no friends in your day to day life.
We also find it hilarious that you have this mock story of a girlfriend, when no women would ever put up with a schmuckatelli like you.
Personally, I find it even more hilarious, that as a fisherman, you constantly take the bait!

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Poster: banditos33 Date: Dec 15, 2009 10:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

"Personally, I find it even more hilarious, that as a fisherman, you constantly take the bait!" thats because he is the master-baiter.

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Poster: skies Date: Dec 16, 2009 4:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Quel culot incroyable, quelle mauvaise foi !

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 14, 2009 9:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

It's true, that's the kind of exercise that would be illuminating - I don't think I've ever tried a '77/'83 side-by-side Slipknot comparison (or, for that matter, grendel's Eyes experiment). As a fan of posts that trace the development of a song/jam over the years, it could be fascinating for any number of songs....
Of course, some eras we just like better, and we all say ours is the "best"....for instance I can't find it in me to enjoy an '89 Dark Star as much as any early version, it just sounds so....shall I say, "different"....but I know there's really nothing objective in this, just a matter of taste.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Dec 15, 2009 11:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I have played this game with Bertha. I prefer the '71-'72 versions of this song to later versions as I feel the tempo and the tone of the guitars were a better fit for this type of tune. However while I prefer the early ones I can not argue with anyone who prefers a '77 or later version. Is it slower and more refined? Yes. However if you listen to Jerry's solos in Bertha circa '77 (use the show that GC linked for a great example) it is beautiful the way that he returns to the tune and essentially plays the lyrics of the song as part of the solo (sort of like what happens in those early Dark Stars you mentioned). So while I prefer the earlier version, there is no way that I can come to the conclusion that the playing in the '77 version suggests that Jerry's guitar playing had peaked prior to this point. For me this is an example of where I can separate what I prefer to what I think may have required more skill to perform.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 15, 2009 2:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Moron. He ruined it.




[jk of course...sorta thought that was the right reply given you had lauded my era and then turned your slimey back on it, you bottom dwelling butt munch.]

Hmmm, I am adding another "JK!" for effect...

Here's one more, jk.

I know we be cool.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Dec 15, 2009 6:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

bottom dwelling butt munch?

Well I guess if I can't be a troll, this will suffice.

yep, we be cool

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Poster: pHurthur Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

A-Jerry-Merry-Christmas-fro.gif

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

no sillier than many other discussions here.

why dont you write one of your "expert" treatises on it? I am sure you know the answers.

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Poster: yur worst enemy too Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

I have seen Jerry mad or at least aggravated. It was backstage at the Greek Theater one Sunday afternoon. Jerry left the stage, sat at the table I was sitting at, I asked him a question, and he said "WTF man, I just finished jammin' for two hours". As the International House brought him a sandwich w/ tomatoes on the side. I asked him "dude, you gonna eat those tomatoes ?". He shook his head NO, so I reached across the table, took the plate of tomatoes, pepper'd them out, and poured another tall glass of Burgundy. Soon the VIP guests rolled backstage and started their conversations with Jerry. Once Jerry started conversing in a spray of turkey breast and wheat bread I boogie'd to the bart station with a to-go cup of wine.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

lmao!!!

excellent :)

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Ah well, it will take me many more years before I can start to answer diamondhead's question.....gotta study these things carefully!

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

Obviously it was the heroin and persian use that enhanced Jer's prowess and musicianship during the later years! That and his improved health and vitality, right up to the end...

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Poster: billydlions Date: Dec 14, 2009 3:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia's mad skills

So the lsd and coke were beneficial to his playing from 1968-1974? Perhaps it was but what's your point Cliff? Certainly the persian and other ailments were detrimental to Jerry's playing, which became very apparent in 1983 (timing was not as good, sloppiness, etc which Phil discusses in his book). On the other hand persian may have had some positive effect early on as it relaxed Jerry (also in one of the books I read). In fact in the early 80's Jerry sat around, did his persian and played his guitar for hours at a time. Like I said above, everyones bias of favorite era will influence their answer. Is it surprising that Tell said the early years and Grendel said 1977? Or me saying 1981?

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 14, 2009 4:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

"what's your point Cliff?"

My point is very simple:

Due to Jerry's addiction and deteriorating health, his skills and musicianship suffered a consistant and steady, almost unabated decline from 1978 onward. This is indisputable!

light into ashes solicited you all for examples that this is not fact and nobody here has provided any! NOT ONE!

"Is it surprising that Tell said the early years and Grendel said 1977? Or me saying 1981?"

Not surprising that Tell knows that the music during the early years was superior, he attended many epic performances during this era. But I'm certainly surprised when I see anyone claim the band was better during the 80's and 90's.

Just because you all spent a ton of time and money attending shows during the 1980's and 90's, doesnt change the fact that Jer was a junkie and the music suffered a great deal as a result of this!

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Poster: suasponte Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Only Cliff knows the true truth

Cliff has officially mandated his opinion as "THE TRUTH" at this point. Again.
Who even listens to your idiocy anymore cliff? Seriously.
We get it!!! You like what you like, and only what you like!!!
Must you hoist your main sail on us all constantly? Or can some people have different opinions than you?

I bet if you weren't on this site, constantly hum-bugging everyone, there would be no other forums!
You are the E. Scrooge of deadheads.


This post was modified by suasponte on 2009-12-15 16:10:06

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Dec 15, 2009 8:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Only Cliff knows the true truth

Kochman, I find it uproariously funny that you care so much what I think about your joke of a forum and my opinion of the Grateful Dead's music during the 80's and 90's! Dont you have anything better to do with your time than snipe at me Koch?

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Poster: suasponte Date: Dec 15, 2009 9:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Only Cliff knows the true truth

Here you go again with the kochman accusations - you really are getting to be a broken record there Frodo, or should I say, Gollum!

Thanks for posting a picture of yourself the other day, so we can see that you are as ugly as you portray yourself, you fat little toad. Give up the weed so your girlfriend, who is also your 1st cousin, doesn't drop you like the dead weight you clearly are! Good move, for a man of such desperate straights as yourself. Don't let go of the one woman actually willing to have sex with you, because you WON'T find another, you fat fucker cliff.

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Poster: billydlions Date: Dec 14, 2009 6:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

"Due to Jerry's addiction and deteriorating health, his skills and musicianship suffered a consistant and steady, almost unabated decline from 1978 onward. This is indisputable!"

Wow, I guess you're the Al Gore of Garcia's guitar playing! The debate has been settled. So who has it right, Tell or Grendel? And let's not forget that Garcia was a junkie in the 70's, just with different drugs.

I never claimed he was better in the 90's (or most of the 80's). Just because the Dead were no longer interested in the big improvisational jams doesn't mean he lost his chops as a guitar player. As for examples for LIA, his solos on Sugaree, Jack Straw, Birdsong, Cumberland, Deal (and many more) were just as good if not better than the early versions. I'm glad to reference specific examples but they've been posted here many times. His work with JGB is nothing short of amazing in spring 1980, spring 1981, fall 1981. The acoustic sets in 1980 (and his soloing) were excellent. Remember, the question was not when was Jerry singing best or when the GD was at their best but when was his guitar playing skills the best. Perhaps we have a different opinion of what defines this.

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Poster: dcain Date: Mar 6, 2010 4:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

I've found some memorable work by Garcia in 1980 and 1981 (and certainly '79). But not in the quantity or concentration of peak moments I've found from Spring '77 through Spring '78.

His transformation of Deal, with an extended solo at the end, began in 1980, and was often powerful. The Bird Songs from 1980 and 1981 featured some good improvisation (my favorite from that period is probably Cole Field House, 3-7-81, where he comes up with brand new motifs and themes and sustains the invention over a long stretch).

I also think more of his best playing between 1980 and 1982 began to occur within the Garcia Band. One example is a near nine-minute workout on Let It Rock 2-17-80 (SUNY Oswego). There are some things he does in those solos, to my ears, that are every bit as powerful, inventive and compelling as in years earlier.

Many musicians and bands go through changes over time. Clapton created quintessential solos from '66-'71 (Hideaway, Crossroads, Key to the Highway, to name a few). Still a great player in 1980, and 1990. But it would be hard to find a similar concentration of absolutely stunning recorded solos that compare to those earlier years.

Perhaps the 70s vs. 80s vs. 90s comes down to just a matter of preference for a certain style of play. We all resonate to different tuning forks. I recall encountering fans for whom anything post-Pigpen wasn't worth listening to. Really.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 14, 2009 9:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Some good points here - obviously I'm quite biased towards the early psychedelic-improv years, so it's easy for me to point to some '72/73 jam and say "but he never did THAT later!" But I'm willing to lend an ear to the '80s to try to see how he developed - though perhaps in a different direction than I might have liked - which is why I asked the questions.
One very good point is that his playing in the JGB and the Dead were kind of on two parallel tracks that didn't converge - he seems to have adopted a different 'style' for JGB shows, which could be more 'natural' Jerry especially in the later years, but it means that folks looking at his guitar skills will have to be familiar with JGB shows over the years. Not a given on a Dead forum!....for one, I'm woefully still not up on this.

I agree that some SONGS became better into the '80s (what happened to, for example, Deal or Stella Blue in '81 was marvelous), and he could certainly fire off blazing solos and nonstop lightning-fast runs. Sometimes this seems like he's not giving enough emotional space in the notes, but just running in place - it's like a rewind to '68 almost, when he's giving everything a hard fast attack. (And the difference in his tone, which is very important, is another 'bias' of many folks.)
But what's tricky is pointing to a solo in, say, a Peggy-o, and saying, "he didn't do THAT in '73!" Because if you play a song hundreds of times over a decade, you're (hopefully) going to get better at it & find new nuances to bring out....but there is a flip side, the sides of his playing that he did early on but then dropped. On top of that, the Dead constantly went through major stylistic changes which make it hard to directly compare a '73 vs. '83 tune.
....which is part of why I find this an unanswerable question, but an interesting one to chew on....

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2009-12-15 05:27:20

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 6:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Hey BD--you are probably onto something with "what defines guitar playing skills?" and I certainly appreciate others that have played providing more insight than I can (which is in part due to my biases as you note).

But, I do feel that the generalities that one can draw with some confidence are along the following lines.

First, vocally, due to smoking, etc., the voice declined over time. Fact (right?). 70 is a real peak for live performances due to all the practice, I think, in the studio. Certainly though he could sing into the 80s in the studio though, but in general, it declines.

Second, song-writing. I think it is relatively clear that volume and quality favor the first half of the trip and maybe even the first ten yrs (65-75). They just don't do that much in latter yrs.

Third, and your focus, guitar playing. Here's where it gets tricky; I do believe the notion of practice making perfect, or exposure to multiple influences, or whatever can lead one to imagine a player would get better over the first 10-20 yrs of playing...but I do think there is a physical side, and that hands/arthritis/whatever can also be working against that...Unfortunately, since style, tone, guitars and interests change over time, no one just keeps playing the same way over time for us to easily evaluate the matter (ie, your biases point comes into play even moreso; witness how someone might say latter day StSt's are more complex or difficult and I say "gag!" or whatever).

For what it's worth, I actually pick the years outside of my era for his peak in playing: 72-74, due to input from guitar players and the notion that it did take him 10 solid yrs of playing to achieve along the practice makes perfect lines...I don't like these yrs nearly as much, but concede he is better in them than during my years in which energy and youthful exuberance carries the day.

Also, I do think that the allusion to LSD vs heroin is misplaced. In the early era, at least according to what I've read, Jerry did not often play while "high" and certainly not to the degree he did in the 80s...dunno, but that's what I've read.

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Poster: billydlions Date: Dec 14, 2009 7:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Tell,

I agree with the first 2 points about singing and writing, no argument there. The arthritis issue, I believe, became more of an issue later on and for that reason I totally disagree with the other poster who though Jerry was just as good right to the end (no chance in hell!) 1972-1974 were the Coke years as documented in numerous books (Scully for sure), so maybe the LSD was overstated, but certainly other drugs were consumed in large quantities at that time. Persian without a doubt took it's toll on Garcia, but a few books (again maybe Scully or even Blair Jackson) did note that it had a calming effect on Garcia. Watching videos from the 1980 Radio City shows, or 3-28-81 in Germany show Garcia playing at a very high level (watch them for yourself). Once again I'm not saying the music was better, just that Jerry was playing very well, night after night. By 1983 the persian effect started to take a turn for the worse and it had the opposite effect. 1977 is viewed by many as being their best year (Grendel will agree, right?) and Garcia was smacked out this entire year. For whatever reason 1978-1979 was a down period for him (largely Keith related?) but by fall of 1979 Garcia seemed to clean up and elevated his game (addition of Brent?). I'm pretty sure Blair Jackson made this point, and the music certainly reflects it.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 14, 2009 8:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

Oh yeah--re: coke...forgot to mention for me, early era means 65-71...I just recall some mention of those periods as being a time when they didn't play high (acid, etc.) as much as folks thought...

But, like you, in and of itself, properly managed (??? but seriously!), I can see some drug use actually being beneficial, or certainly not a negative issue...it was just that post 78 or so, with the diet, smoking (really a big problem since it was so dramatic in terms of amt/"quality"), and then the negatives of those kinds of drugs (lethargy when overdone, etc.) he was favoring at the time that he was certain to begin declining.

So, yeah--I could see some rationale for real quality playing in 81; would think that overall it was the exception though if that makes sense...

Oh, forgot: of course I am right and Grendel is wrong. He is only a "Gandhi, JG" while I recently rated a promotion to "Gandhi, with Fasting Clusters"...

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Poster: yur worst enemy too Date: Dec 14, 2009 10:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Garcia WAS a junkie

"...so was Billy Holiday, Keith Ferguson, Ray Charles,Eddy Fisher, Charlie Parker, SRV, Buddy Ace, Erykah Badu.... etc. etc. etc... but I believe China White was the knodd. Infact, America was invaded in the search for a quicker opium route for the Italians during the 15th century. This is why the world is flat."

-American Gangster 1992

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKCnHWas3HQ

This post was modified by yur worst enemy too on 2009-12-15 06:04:11

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